How Young Adult Authors Can Use Tumblr to Reach Their Readers

by | May 18, 2016

Have you thought about using Tumblr lately?

I may know what you’re thinking right now. These days when everyone is talking about Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram, why would I even mention Tumblr? Isn’t Tumblr sort of, well, passé?

Au contraire.

When Pew Research Center came out with its newest mobile messaging and social media study last August, the data-rich website revealed these demographics about Tumblr:

  • One in ten online adults (10%) use Tumblr, a slight increase from the 6% who did so the last time Pew Research asked in December 2012.
  • Young adults are especially likely to use Tumblr: 20% of online adults age 18 to 29 do so.
  • Black and Hispanic adults (15% respectively) are slightly more likely than white adults (9%) to be on Tumblr.

Sure, Tumblr isn’t growing leaps and bounds like Instagram and Snapchat, but it’s still a popular social media network that some authors might want to spend some time using.

Specifically, if you write young adult/new adult novels or if you write novels that young adults are snapping up, such as graphic novels, then Tumblr might be one of the social media websites that you incorporate into your marketing plan.

And if you’re a poet, you’ll find plenty of colleagues on this visual blogging site.

Authors and Author Services on Tumblr

There are a lot of writers on Tumblr, including:

Check out this list of services for and about authors:

  • NPR Fresh Air
  • Readers Writers Journal
  • Bookworks
  • Bublish
  • NaNoWriMo

There are also some publishing houses on Tumblr:

  • Random House
  • HarperCollins
  • Chronicle Books
  • Scribner Books

You’ll also find bookstores on Tumblr (London Books, Book Passage in Northern California, and others) a blog devoted to writing prompts, and a comprehensive directory of YA authors on Tumblr. And Huffington Post Books is on Tumblr as well.

How to Sign Up for Tumblr

Signing up for Tumblr is straightforward. Go to Tumblr.com and use your author name when setting up your account.

Complete your bio. Add the same avatar that you use on other social media networks.

Think about branding. In this example, I use the same color for my name and bio that I use on my website and my images. I also uploaded my logo.

Tumblr logo example

The next step is to select a theme, which you can do here. The beauty and attraction of Tumblr, especially among teens and young adults, is the ability to customize your blog. Select one that matches your author brand. You can learn more about customization from Tumblr here.

If you don’t want to purchase a theme – most cost about $49 – you’ll find numerous choices for customizing your account. Once you click Edit Theme, you’ll see this long menu on the left-hand column:

Browse Theme image

Next, follow some of your colleagues or some of the accounts mentioned above. Similar to Twitter, on Tumblr you have followers and you follow other users. Follow and unfollow with a simple toggle.

At the bottom of each of your followers’ posts, you’ll see these icons:

Tumblr icons

  1. The left arrow allows you to send a post to someone you follow on Tumblr.
  2. The balloon enables you to leave a comment.
  3. The double arrow, similar to the retweet icon on Twitter, means you want to reblog a post on Tumblr. When you reblog, you can add a caption and tags. Tags are keywords and are referred to as hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+.
  4. The heart means that you like a post.

Don’t Sync Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr

You’ll have the option to connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Tumblr. Doing this will save time but I don’t endorse connecting accounts. Each platform has its own voice and way of being in the virtual world of social media.

As a caveat, I do like the way Instagram users can decide, as they post an image, whether they want to also post it on Twitter or Facebook. But to automatically post everything from one platform to another, well, as a practice I don’t endorse it.

Ask Me Anything

When you set up your account, you can decide whether you want other users to contact you with questions. I like this option, so I’ve enabled it. What I won’t enable, however, are anonymous questions.

Tumblr Ask image

Privacy

Be sure to indicate that you’d like your blog to be discoverable via search engines. After all, that’s an advantage to using social media, right?

What to Post on Tumblr

Tumblr What to Post image

As the above icons indicate, you can post:

  • blogs
  • images
  • quotes
  • links to blog posts
  • podcasts
  • videos
  • chat with followers

So there are a lot of ways you can use this blogging platform.

Once you’re on Tumblr, you can repost your best blog posts here. But, as with other social media sites, images are huge. It would be better to create great images for your blog posts and then share the visuals to Tumblr and add the link to your post with a comment about it. Be sure to add tags before posting.

You can also create images just for Tumblr, such as quotes from your books, favorite author quotes, quotes about reading, books, libraries, etc.

If you use Canva, you’ll see that this photo creation tool has a template for Tumblr images and has some ready-made suggestions for you.

CANVA image

Do you have a book video? Add it to Tumblr. Or did you create a how-to video your readers would enjoy? Add that too.

As with any social media platform, the possibilities are nearly endless. What do you post on Tumblr?

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12 Comments

  1. Rosaura

    Hi,

    I would like to tell you that I’m using thhis site for some tiime and you post very
    good info. I shared your latest article on twitter and got a lot of
    positive feedbacks.

    Waiting for your next article

    Reply
  2. Maya

    Howdy this is sоmeᴡhat of off topiϲ but I was wondering
    if blogs use WYSIWYG eɗitors or if you һave to manually code with HTML.

    I’m staгting a blog soon but have no coding experiencе so I wanted to get
    advice frоm someone with experience. Any һelp would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  3. ferris robinson

    Thank you, Frances! Tumblr is new to me and I’m trying to figure it all out – this is so helpful!

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Ferris: I’m so glad you’re going to give it a try!

      Reply
  4. Jessica Matteliano

    Tumblr is one of my favorite platforms!

    Actually, like Instagram, you can choose whether or not to also cross-post it to other social networks. I do often untick Twitter, and never post to Facebook.

    Great article, thank you!

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Jessica, Yes, you’re absolutely right. You can also cross-post from Instagram to Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. I typically cross-post to Facebook from Instagram, but I don’t to Tumblr or Twitter. Thanks for bringing that up.

      Reply
    • Karen

      Fabulous Post! Thank you!
      Jessica – I wondered why you said: never post to Facebook?

      Reply
      • Jessica Matteliano

        @Karen: I like to keep my facebook disconnected from Tumblr merely because I don’t want to inundate my facebook friends with all the randomness! A lot of my Tumblr blog is about my art/writing and reblogging helpful posts on writing — topics my facebook friends don’t care for. I hardly use facebook as it is, and I don’t want to be just another one of the obnoxious self-aggrandizing people on there.

        Reply
        • Karen Fredericks

          Thank you! Very helpful!

          Reply
        • Frances Caballo

          I agree. I don’t connect Facebook to Tumblr; the platforms are so different. I do connect Instagram to Facebook and sometimes to Tumblr, depending on the image.

          Reply
  5. Tari Akpodiete

    Excellent article! Besides tweeting about it, I’ve also posted it to a closed Facebook group of YA writers (500+ members).

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Tari: What a great idea! Thanks for contributing to this post.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday Links: On Reading (and Writing) All the Books – Nephele Tempest - […] How Young Adult Authors Can Use Tumblr to Reach Their Readers – Excellent tips for all writers, not just…
  2. How Young Adult Authors Can Use Tumblr to Reach... - […] If you are a young adult author, Tumblr might be one of the social media websites that you incorporate…

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